Calvary Baptist Church, located 50 miles north of Amarillo in the state’s panhandle, will be hosting its first concealed handgun license class on March 2 in an effort to promote self-defense and safety in the community.
The church’s senior pastor, Rev. Brad Foster, told the Amarillo Globe-News there has been high demand for the class and that the church will continue to offer classes as long as there is interest. “We’ve always attempted to think outside the box as far as what the needs of the community are, and I think this melds well with that philosophy,” he said.
The 10-hour class will be taught by state-certified instructor Mike Cearley and will cover the safety and legal parameters of carrying a concealed handgun. Sunday School Director Jim Edlin suggested the idea months ago, reported Amarillo local news channel KFDA–prior to the Newtown shooting. Foster said they are not trying to make a political statement, though they “don’t mind being associated with being in support of the Second Amendment.”
Foster said he views the current debate over gun control from a Biblical standpoint, arguing that we have a responsibility to be “protectors of innocents” and that “Jesus has a special place in his heart for children and innocents.”
More than half of enrollees have been women and some are teachers, Edlin said.
Calvary Baptist isn’t the only religious institution in Texas to dip its toes into firearm education. As Fox News reported, The Lighthouse Worship Center in Beaumont began offering free concealed handgun classes for teachers after the school shooting in Connecticut. Pastor James McAbee, locally known as the pistol-packing preacher, said he wants teachers to be prepared to defend themselves and their students.
Like Foster, McAbee said he believes the right to bear arms is sacred. “Jesus asked his disciples if they had swords and when they said they didn’t, he told them to go out and buy one–for protection,” he said. “I think firearms are the modern-day swords.”
Over 150 teachers showed up to The Lighthouse Worship Center’s first class this month, and March’s is already full.
“I’m trying to do my part,” McAbee told Fox News. “We live in evil days.”